Blogs from Parc National des Volcans, Province du Nord, Rwanda, Africa - page 2


Bonjour J We visited Rwanda for 3 days, so I could trek the endangered mountain gorillas in the Parc National Des Volcans (where Dian Fossey famously researched them) and to visit the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre, which remembers those impacted by the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and aims to educate so that it never happens again. It was a visit of extreme happiness (the gorillas) and extreme sadness (the genocide), a visit where we learned and were inspired. I had been looking for months for a tour including both gorilla trekking in Rwanda (the other options are Uganda - where the trek is more strenuous and you’re less likely to see gorillas as they move around more - or the Democratic Republic of Congo - which I felt was too volatile) and a visit to the ... read more
Rwandan volcano
The road to Ruhengeri
Driving to Ruhengeri

A couple of the emails said, “Rwanda . . . huh”. The skepticism was palpable. The messages plainly implied that this decision was significant in so far as it indicated deteriorating mental capacities and an alarming uptick in questionable decision making. Oprava’s email was more blunt: “Christmas in Rwanda sounds like, well, hell, but what does the white man know.” Precisely. What does the white man know? The media’s business is infotainment. It breathlessly recounts the horrific apocalyptic flavor of the moment for riveted audiences before rushing on to the next catastrophe in the heart of darkness. The news’ steady diet of natural disaster, civil war, famine, disease, and public uprising liberally indulges the schadenfreude of the fickle observer. Consequently, the Rwanda of public imagination is, and perhaps forever will be, rooted in the undeniably hellish ... read more
tea plantations and patchwork hills of Rwanda
bachman sees the gorillas
grooming and socializing

(Note: As we posted close together, check out barbe's post below first) The northernmost part of Rwanda is much like the rest - every square meter not occupied by a house or road has some sort of crop planted on it - except that that there are large sections that actually seem flat. I don't mean horizontal, necessarily, because it is all angled up towards the border with Congo and Uganda, but at least not endlessly bumpy (valleys and ridges). Barbe and I surmised that the relatively even angle of the ground probably was caused by lava and ash flows from the volcanoes having filled in all the valleys, to a certain distance from the peaks. (But what do I know about geology and rocks, much to Barbe's colleagues' consternation!) When we left Gisenyi (11 January ... read more
A Field of Pyrethrum Flowers
Baby Gorilla #1
Flying Through The Air!

Sun shining, bags in the back of the ute, we jump in and off we go heading to see the Mountain Gorilla in the Parc Des Volcans. After a very early start and hoping to get a lift to see any of the Gorilla families we were very lucky to be offered a lift to see the Susa family which we were hoping to see and which is the largest, but also the most difficult to reach. It is very strange when you arrive at the head quarters for the morning check in and finding out that we need to organize our own transport as well as for the guide. We asked around the forty of so people and finally found a group of young travelers and we all stuck together. For each family only eight ... read more
Teaching and learning
Time for reflection
This guy was so full of energu

Musanze or Ruhengeri, it is the same town but the name has been changed recently following an administrative reorganization of Rwandan’s 12 former provinces. Both names are still in use and it doesn’t matter which one you’ll use. On one side of town says Musanze and on other side – Ruhengeri. This small town is the second biggest in Rwanda and the base station for tourists who are doing mountain gorillas trekking at Parc National Des Volcans. Not a great deal to do in the town other than sitting back, beer in hand and admire the views of the National Park that are shadowing the town. It is a feeling of adventure when arriving in the city and seeing the surrounding mountains knowing full well that somewhere up there are the Mountain Gorillas. We were extremely ... read more
Lake Burera
Lake Burera transport
Bird life

Lake Bunyonyi was as beautiful as promised! We spent a day exploring the area using a dugout canoe for transport. We stumbled on and into an extremely vibrant and lively village church service and enjoyed the enthusiastic singing, clapping and dancing. There was definitely a lot of spirit and joy in the room. We also visited a traditional healer who showed us a selection of plants and herbs used for various "medicinal" purposes, including treating colds, stomach upsets and malaria. However, not sure Celina will be prescribing any of his treatments to her patients when she's back home..! The last stop of the day was to learn some basket making skills from a family of craftmakers. We chose the simplest option of making bracelets, which was a lot tougher than it looked. Although we won't be ... read more
Lake Bunyoni
Lake Bunyonyi
Lake Bunyonyi

Zoveel mooie landen op aarde en soms zijn er van die landen, waar je nog maar net bent en het zo fantastisch aanvoelt. Ik had geen idee wat ik van Rwanda moest verwachten, maar dit was zo'n land. Superschoon, mooi landschap en heel warme mensen. En dat terwijl hier in 1994 die vreselijk genocide plaatsvond. Nog dagelijks komen er lijken bovendrijven en vinden er begravenissen plaats van Tutsi's of Hutu's, die op enige manier zich inzetten voor Tutsi's. De verhalen over de genocide zijn verschrikkelijk, vooral daar waar kinderen die eerst als vriendjes met elkaar speelden de opdracht kregen om de andere te vermoorden. Vrijwel iedereen is hier geraakt door de genocide en vandaag de dag is het hier dan ook een 'misdaad' om iemand te vragen of hij of zij een Hutu of Tutsi is. ... read more
Golden Monkey
Onze groep
vulkaan Visoke

With only one month left in Rwanda, we finally went to see the gorillas. Our trip began with a three hour drive to Volcanoes National Park. Along the way, Alex had a speaking engagement on behalf of the US Embassy, recognizing a local NGO for their conservation efforts and education awareness programs in the area. Courtesy of Jenn’s mother, Dorothy, we stayed at a very nice lodge with individual cabins and excellent meals. The following morning, we got up super early to head to the park headquarters where we were assigned to trek the Hirwa group (meaning “lucky” in Kinyarwanda due to the birth of twins). Unfortunately for us, the group was very active in the morning, resulting in a three hour hike up, down, and around the mountain in very slippery and humid conditions. With ... read more
Juvenile playing
Twins and mom

GREAT GORILLA NEWS is that the population of this critically endagered species living in Africa's Virunga Massif has grown by whopping 26.3% to approximately 480 individuals in the past seven years. According to a new census which was conducted in 2010, gorillas in the area are on the increase. The last mountain gorilla census of the Verunga region was done in 2003 whereby there was estimated to be around 380 individuals. It should be noted that the Virunga Massive encompases national parks in three neighboring countries: Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Within Uganda is the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, an estimated 302 - 340 individuals survive. This number is not included in this years increase but is a totally separate number. How is a census done? During ... read more

Even when 220kg of gorilla muscle is standing in front of you they look cuddly and shy. Being so close to them is surprisingly not intimidating at all. The only time intimidation can happen is that moment when the biggest silverback is coming right for you! My initial plan was to have a very private experience in Congo DR but with my failed effort to enter the country (explained earlier) I went to Rwanda’s Parc National Des Volcans. Booking a long time in advance was not needed and I booked in Kigali to go the following day. I went to Musanze the closest major town and stayed overnight. The cost to see the gorilla spectacle is $500, which is about the maximum it should be I feel. Rumours are that as of 2011 it is going ... read more
2- Gorillas Park
3- Silverback
4 - View at Gorilla HQ

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